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Local News

A consent agreement between the Intercounty Drainage Board and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality calls for a $600,000 bond to assure the remaining work on the Little Thornapple River drain is completed to its satisfaction.

 

Drain Commissioner Jim Dull told the Barry County Commission Tuesday that they couldn’t get a bond; “no history, no construction, no bond,”  however, the DEQ will allow a $600,000 irrevocable letter of credit with the three counties involved, Barry, Ionia and Kent, each according to its percentage of the area of the drain district.

 

Highpoint Community Bank has agreed to provide a two-year $600,000 line of credit for $7,500, if all three counties agree to pledge its full faith and credit, Dull said. “If everything goes wrong,” he said, Barry County’s share to pay would be 63.48 percent.  Ionia County would be responsible for 36.31 percent and Kent County, for 0.37 percent.  

 

Stacy Hissong, attorney for the Intercounty Drainage Board said if they don’t get approval from the three counties, it goes against the consent agreement and they will be fined, likely $5,000 a day and they are working to get the line of credit approved in an extension of a deadline. The remaining work on a small area of wet lands to be recovered would not cost anywhere near the $600,000, Hissong said; the DEQ set the high figure.

 

The county commission’s committee of the whole voted unanimously to recommend approval by the board at its regular meeting on March 12.

 

The majority of the repair of what angry property owners along the drain and trout stream called excessive clearing of trees in 2014 causing erosion along the river banks and more damage to the 14-mile long inter-county drain was done before the consent agreement was reached.

With the approval of the agreement, the DEQ has approved all of the work done so far. //

 

No assessments were levied last year for the Little Thornapple River Drain work.

This year, the drain commissioner in each county, using a number of factors, will set the individual assessments for the assessment roll that is subject to public review.

 

Barry County residents are scheduled for a review meeting on May 8, Ionia County residents on May 7 and Kent County on May 9.  Everyone affected will be notified by letter confirming the dates, meeting place and times.

If a person disputes their assessment, they can file an appeal with the probate court within 10 days of the review. The final special assessments will be levied on the 2019 winter tax bill.

 

The Intercounty Drain Board consists of three drain commissioners; Jim Dull from Barry, Ken Yonker from Kent and Robert Rose from Ionia County. Brady Harrington, chair of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, chairs the Intercounty Drain Board. Streamside Ecological Service developed the remediation plans that were submitted to the DEQ.

 

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